what’s cookin’ {kitchen update}

There has been a lot happening in the kitchen, besides cooking…
obviously, because I don’t do that…

Here is our kitchen on the day we closed on the house.
I love it. We love it. But we want to make it our own.



I’ll start with the most weird obvious thing in the kitchen.
Yep, that’s a huge hole in the wall.
We aren’t sure what it’s all about, but after much speculation and
conversations with our realtors, we think the previous owners had a beverage fridge in there.
I, at first, would have loved to put another beverage fridge in there,
and we even looked and looked for one.
No luck. The size of the opening was very odd and those things are expensive!

Kenley had a hay day when we first moved in. She couldn’t reach the door handles yet,
so she used this awkward opening as her own, personal door to the food.
Obviously, that got old real quick.
Greg did an awesome job patching it up with dry wall.





Our walls are tricky, too. They are all textured, so to create just enough texture to match wasn’t easy.
He pretty much rocks and you can’t even tell there was a gaping hole there,
unless you’re really looking for it.



Moving on to another part of our pantry… the door.
I cannot even begin to explain how much I loathe this door.
I’m sorry if you have a pantry door like this and/or love it,
I’m not trying to step on any toes here, but it’s just not my style.
So much so, that when Celeste was here to visit, she immediately made a comment
about how she just couldn’t see me liking it… without even knowing just how much I hated it!
My friends know me.

I was actually surprised to see a similar door installed on a recent episode of
Cousins on Call (one of my fave shows by the way… how can you not love these guys?).
I started to second guess myself and thought that maybe it wasn’t all THAT bad…
but nope. I still dislike it (a lot).


Like everything, doors are not cheap, so I thought about alternatives.
I got opinions of friends, did some research, etc. and decided
we were going to paint the glass with chalkboard paint,
until we stumbled upon this little gem… chalkboard contact paper.
We thought, for $7.50, we could give it a whirl and if it didn’t work, we weren’t out a ton of money.

It wasn’t super easy to put on, but we did it and it looks great!
I cured the chalkboard twice by completely covering with chalk and wiping down with a dry paper towel.
I. am. obsessed.
I love it!


Lastly… sorry, this has turned into quite the post, we replaced our island counter.
This was one of the things I wasn’t in love with, but I didn’t dislike it as much as the door.
I just always thought the counter looked too small on top of the island,
and I wasn’t a fan of the cut… triple pencil is the technical name.

We posted this puppy on Craigslist and in 12 hours it was sold.
I could go on and on about how much I love Craigslist, but I’ll save that for another day.


We decided to go with a butcher block style island and purchased the NUMERÄR countertop from IKEA.
Greg cut it to size and sanded the two edges that he cut.
We love it!


There are certain things that keep reminding me that we aren’t the first owners of this house,
but the more we do, the more I really feel like we are making this house our home.


So, that’s what’s cookin’! We hope to keep improving it!

my weekend in photos


kenley and kyler dined together friday night.


we showered this bride-to-be with love on saturday.


and with a gift that was so fun to put together.




more friends.


saturday night included a double date at cocina 214. home of the pop rocks margarita.


and a stop at the wine room, which i am a huge fan of now.


this was my date.


just trying to get a nice picture of the girls with their buds mickey & minnie.
this is what they gave me.


we made not one, but two trips to target on sunday alone.
kenley forgot it is her favorite store and that she should be happy about it.


we’re having another date night tonight and watching an oscar-nominated flick, while the oscars are on.


how was your weekend? ours seemed to go by rather quickly!

16 Months!

Literally, the day after I posted last month, Kenley mastered how to open and close doors.
It was like overnight she went from barely being able to reach the door handle,
to opening and closing every door in the house. Her favorite being the pantry.
Since then, it’s been a fun game of going into rooms and closing the door…
then opening it again…
and repeat ten times.
We quickly learned to keep the door to the garage locked at all times,
and don’t even think you will have privacy anymore in the bathroom.

This month we made some changes with food and meal time.
We had a great 15 month appointment with our pediatrician that was very informative.
Since then, we have really made a point to eat dinner together
and to feed Kenley whatever we are having for dinner.
Before, Kenley would have her own meal, then Greg and I would eat after she went to bed.
We had a great routine down, and are still adjusting to this one.
I love that we’re eating together as a family,
but it has completely cut out the time we had to go for a run after work.
It has also required us to plan dinners more and we have been doing at least
one meal in the crock pot each week, which has been so helpful.

I’ve been sitting on this gem for a while.
She really likes muffins, but for reasons unbeknownst to us calls them “robbies”.

She can now point to her elbow and knee,
and loves to point to your elbow if you’re changing her diaper.
She will also point to “owies” on herself or someone else.

She has had 12 teeth for a little while now,
the front four on top and bottom, and four molars.

We do a lot of talking and asking questions while she’s in the bath tub,
mostly because she is somewhat focused and can’t run off.
She will point out most of the animals in her bath toys
and we will talk about what sounds the animals make, colors, etc.
She really loves her bath time.


We think that she is really grasping the meaning of who we are.
She’s always said mama or dada, but now she will point to us
and say mommy, then point to the other and say daddy.
She can say her name and seems to understand who she is.
If you say “who’s Kenley?”, she says “ME!”
She also will occasionally answer, “what’s your name?” correctly.
In addition to Kyler, she also will constantly talk about her friends at school,
Caleb (a lot!), Corbin (Co-bin), Emersyn (Emmy), and Andy.
Other new words this month: open (opie), orange (or-ee), cup, table, pizza (dee dup),
Mickey & Minnie (often interchanged), hot dog (as in the song),
snail (bath toy), diapey (diaper), poo poo, and potty (poppy).

Speaking of, we are sitting on the potty every once in a while,
but we’re still holding out for the first time actually going in the potty.
She shows some signs of interest, so that’s all we can ask for now!

This girl loves to dance and sing. We’ve been singing a lot of nursery rhymes lately,
which are very hard to remember ironically… no joke, I googled
“Mary had a little lamb” because for the life of me, I could not remember the words.
…it’s fleece as white as snow, in case you were wondering.
She LOVES the itsy bitsy spider right now and will do the hand motions.
Her version of saying it is adorable and I can’t even think of how I would spell it,
but I know exactly what she wants when she says it.
I’ll try to get it on video.

She also is a big fan of the hot dog song, and will say hot dog over and over again.

Until next time!

my weekend in photos


i’m becoming a fan of sparkling water as a replacement for soda.


evening stroll friday night.


real wisconsin cheese from our wisconsin visitor.


taking a break while shopping.


playing with her new toy while we watch the hoosiers dominate!


cel was in town! so happy.


ryan’s third annual oyster roast, celebrating 30 big ones!


the dudes.


margot came to visit. kenley loved it, except she kept calling her “carly” (as in charlie, her brother).


kyler and kenley testing out the new bike trailer…
in the house since it was too cold to use it outside.


we had a great weekend with a great visitor and fun times with friends,
but we’re ready for the warm temperatures to return!

how was your weekend?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We don’t need a holiday to make us think about how much can change in one year,
but looking back at our little valentine last year really does remind us.


Our big girl valentine this year…



Last year, Kenley had just started in her new class after switching daycare providers,
so you can imagine my surprise when she came home with valentines from her classmates.
She is very excited to pass out valentines to her friends this year.

There are so many adorable (non-candy related) toddler valentines on Pinterest,
but as soon as I stumbled upon this idea, I stopped looking any further.
Kenley loves these little fruit pouches, so I knew they would be perfect for her friends.
I made the cards in Publisher with this fun font.
I went with an ombre effect in red and pink for the font color and loved how it turned out.
They were quick and easy, always a big win for a working mom on the go!



I had all these great ideas for decorating for Valentine’s Day this year
and I didn’t do one of them, not a single one.
I’m going to brush it off and try to get ahead by moving right along to Easter,
or maybe just forget holidays all together and decorate for spring.

We were able to do a couple fun food-related Valentine’s Day treats.


Cookies for co-workers!


Heart shaped ham & cheese for a little girl’s lunch.


Pink, heart-shaped pancakes made with love for his girls.

Finally, Kenley got a Cupig from Great Grandma & Pa, she LOVED it!
Here is a glimpse… I think she played it at least 10 times after she opened it.

Now that song will be stuck in your head for days…
you’re welcome.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

coffered and crowned

Our family room has a coffered ceiling, which is one of the things we fell in love with in the very beginning.
As soon as our offer was accepted on the house, ok… maybe a little before that,
we started planning what we wanted to do to the ceiling.
After searching for ideas on Houzz or Pinterest, which actually becomes overwhelming,
we had a good idea of what we wanted it to look like in the end.
The next task was actually getting to that end result!


This is the best before photo I have of the ceiling. This the family room on the day we closed.
The door on the left goes into the master bedroom. The sliding doors on the right go out to the patio.

We knew we wanted to paint the inside of each box a dark gray color.
Our final decision landed on Valspar Wet Pavement and it worked out perfectly.
Greg borrowed a 10 foot ladder for this project because our ceilings are insanely tall,
we’re talking 12 feet tall and 13 feet inside the coffered squares.


Over the course of two nights and one gallon of paint, Greg painted all six squares.
The final verdict was that it was better painting with the extender on the ladder (as shown).
Each square has a pot light, which meant the light bulb was removed and the cover was popped out.
Since we knew that the crown molding was the next step, there was no taping required.
The painting was the easy part.


The entire next day was dedicated to crown molding.
Greg measured every single box, because of course, they weren’t all the same,
that would have been too easy, right?


Thankfully, Santa brought Greg a miter saw for Christmas, so it made this project more fun.
He has experience cutting crown molding from the framed mirrors.
The trick is to cut the molding upside down and backwards.


He concentrated on one box at a time, cutting all four sides of molding at once.
To put them up, he used a nail gun… thanks Chris for letting us borrow your Christmas gift!
Once all four pieces were up, he wasn’t quite done yet.
He used finishing caulk between each piece and the nail holes.
Greg didn’t move on to the next box until the previous one was completely done.

It may seem like he whipped right through these boxes, but it wasn’t that easy.
If just one cut was off just a little bit, the two pieces would not line up together,
causing him to cut and re-cut, until the two pieces were flush.
There was a lot of up and down on the ladder throughout the course of the day.
It literally took the entire day…like 10 hours!


Before we started this project, there was much discussion on how we were going to go about this,
and I’ll be the first to admit that I said several times that we should just hire someone to come do it.
I think it was all in the stress of moving and getting settled right in the middle of the holiday season,
coupled with having a 13-14 month old running around, yet still going about our daily lives.
I am so glad Greg convinced me otherwise!
It was so nice having my parents here after Christmas to help with other things while Greg got this done.
I am especially thankful we didn’t hire someone after we were watching HGTV
and they estimated that crown molding labor was around $1500 (!!) for one room.

The supplies we used for this project include:

1 Gallon of Valspar Wet Pavement paint – $33
2 EverTrue 8-piece Primed MDF Crown Moulding – $176.87 (with 10% off coupon)
2 DAP White Caulk – $4

The grand total on this project was $215 and it was worth every penny.
We love the new look!


my weekend in photos


how about that blizzard?


bath time!


this girl’s hair is long!


we headed down to see grammy on saturday.
kenley and i went for a stroll and ended up at the beach.




having fun splashing daddy.
as you can see, daddy is thrilled.


after dinner, kenley and i caught the very tail end of the sunset at the beach.


this was the best thing i could find at the gas station with an extra boost of vitamin c.
i refuse to get sick.


this one had no problem getting comfy on the drive back.


we had a fun weekend and were so happy to visit grammy!
how was your weekend? are you braving the winter weather?

my weekend in photos

my apologies for the lateness of this post. blame it on the big game that went way past my bedtime.


friday lunch. grilled chicken tenders & a perfectly crafted arnold palmer.


headed out saturday morning for a chilly run.


ready for the big game!


looking like a big girl at dinnertime.


freshly manicured toes.


after anxiously awaiting game time all day. finally.


halftime treats.


food prep for superbowl sunday.
homemade pretzels, greg’s specialty.


hanging out before kickoff.
17 adults & 7 kiddos, oh how our parties have changed.




we all felt like margot after the game was over.


we had a great weekend full of great sporting events, which we love.
how was your weekend?

Kenley’s Toddler Room

Psst. I’m guest posting with Amanda today about our cloth diaper experience,
head on over to Without A Doubt to check it out!


It was hard for me not to write nursery in this title,
but at the same time, it also feels weird considering this room a nursery since she wasn’t a tiny baby here.
It’s about to get a lot more grown up too when her crib is replaced with a toddler bed.

Here is a quick peek of what it looked like the day we closed on the house.



Greg quickly got in there to paint the entire room before we were set to move the next day.


This room is considerably bigger than her previous room,
so we were so very thankful to receive some hand-me-down furniture, that turned out to be perfect.
We also added a few more decor pieces on the walls since there is a lot more wall space.
You can revisit the source list here which gives you a good rundown of what we already had,
and I will note the new stuff that we added.


To give you a frame of reference, Kenley’s room is off the kitchen.
Immediately to the right of her doorway are the stairs going up (and child gate).
The third bedroom (now junk room, eventual second nursery), is immediately to the left, sharing a wall.


I am in love with the paint color. It is Pea Pod by Valspar from Lowe’s.
We did the faux wainscotting ourselves and the bunting flags were re-purposed
from Kenley’s first birthday party with fabric from her weekly photo project,
so I am very happy to use them again.


Almost the entire downstairs is tile, including the bedrooms,
so an area rug was a must. Her rug is from Urban Outfitters and it’s perfect.




I added the RIBBA shadowbox to our RIBBA collection,
and framed Kenley’s personalized onesie, bloomers, and flip flops.
It worked out perfectly that they are pink and green.

The little giraffe was a birthday gift from Misha, so adorable.


There are still a couple things that I would like to do:

We still have the little white Umbra flowers that haven’t made it to the walls yet.

New curtains would be awesome. The old ones aren’t long enough
due to the height of the window and ceilings, but I haven’t even looked for new ones.

The door handle to her room was broken, so we have already replaced it with a brushed nickel handle,
but the bathroom door and the closet door are still the lovely shiny brass.
Slowly, we’ll be changing over all of the door handles in the house, so those are on the list.

I would imagine we will be making the move to the toddler bed within the next couple of months.
I already have the bed picked out, and I think it will go where the crib is now, but we’ll see.

Her closet is insanely large for a toddler. I envision her loving it as a teen,
but I would like to put a little reading nook in there and make it all cozy.
It also could use some serious organization. I’ll spare you the photos for now.

We will also frame her bathroom mirror and get a new light fixture,
but I don’t think we will paint it. I’ll leave that to her to do when she’s older.

I was very sad to leave behind Kenley’s first nursery.
We put so much love and thought into that room to make it perfect for her.
I remember sitting in that room in the final days before her arrival,
wondering what it would be like with her there in my arms.
That room will always hold a special place in my heart,
but I love this room and I love that she is going to grow up here.

I am anxious to see how it will evolve for many, many years.